Non-formal education in Palestine : a response to school exclusion
This research investigated the past relationship between the formal education and nonformal educational systems in Palestine as a basis for considering what form the relationship may take in the future. The study was based on the initial understanding that within the field of study and practice of continuing education, non-formal education has been conceptualised as having a particular role to play in producing a more equitable society. The study was undertaken at a significant political moment. Non-formal educational institutions and programmes had flourished when, under Israeli occupation, much formal education provision was restricted. Palestinian non-formal education played a significant role in resistance to Israeli occupation and in the Intifada (1987-1994). In 1993, with the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principle on Interim Self Government, the geo-political context for the Palestinian people and Palestinian institutions changed and a transitional national authority was established. The research was shaped to consider this transitional context. The research was planned to include interviews with people who were likely to be players in the process of national policy formulation. The researcher standpoint was that of a known NFE practitioner. The intention of the field approach was (a) to assess whether a perspective on social exclusion or, for reasons described in the dissertation, educational exclusion was likely to inform the education policy of the new regime and (b) to stimulate through the interview conversation, consideration of the past and future role of non-formal education in Palestine. Analysis of the views of 31 members of the educational elite was informed and contextualised by a review of the literature (mostly in English and much of it written in relation to developing societies) on non-formal education, statistical data, research reports and case studies of education in Palestine. The research argues for the necessity of reforming and reshaping Palestinian non-formal education, and for strategies to be adopted that integrate formal education and non-formal education. Consideration of policy options for the future of Palestinian non-formal education was set within a model of relationships between non-formal education and forms of governance.